Accounting firm BKD LLP’s Learning & Development unit is becoming more environmentally friendly by reducing paper and office supplies, encouraging recycling and controlling energy use.

The firm officially launched the initiative this summer, concentrating on its training and education practices. The biggest change has been moving to paperless conferences.

Firmwide educational sessions no longer include paper agendas or informational binders that can average 150 pages. In addition, speaker presentations, session handouts, and attendee lists and surveys are no longer printed. Materials are being placed on disk or made available online for review prior to the conference. This is estimated to save approximately 546,359 sheets, or 1,092 reams, of paper each year.

Additional efforts to reduce the firm’s carbon footprint include recycling and re-using event signage and supplies such as name badges and holders. Instructors now share training resources and tools, as well as maintain electronic records versus paper files. A switch to online event invitations and registration is helping to further limit paper waste.  The firm is hosting many training sessions as webinars or other electronic formats to decrease the need for printed presentation materials. 

Future plans for the department include incorporating re-usable white boards instead of paper flipcharts, providing various recycling bins in conference rooms, and replacing bottled water and canned beverages with beverages in pitchers and cups made from post-consumer materials.

“We are very excited to embrace these environmental practices because we believe they will not only benefit the attendees of our conferences and training, but also the community,” said Eileen Wollenburg, director of BKD’s Learning and Development. 

In addition to Learning & Development’s initiatives, BKD observes green practices such as bottleless water for employees and the use of recycled office supplies, as well as recycling toner cartridges, paper, plastic and aluminum. BKD’s national office building, currently under construction in Springfield, Mo., will have many environmentally friendly features, including plumbing fixtures that use less water, energy-efficient heating and air conditioning systems, water-efficient landscaping, and a white roof designed to reduce urban heat.

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